TAKE one look at the history books of Worcestershire County Cricket Club and you would have to go a long way back to find a team that doesn’t involve a D’Oliveira or a Rhodes.

In 1964 the legend that is Basil D’Oliveira began his illustrious New Road career, now 45 years on and his grandson Brett, a right-hand batsman and leg-spin bowler, has been inducted to the County’s academy.

The 17-year-old is the latest third generation of D’Oliveiras to go through the ranks at Worcestershire.

The academy is run by Damian D’Oliveira, Basil’s son and Brett’s father, and he himself enjoyed a successful 13-year Worcestershire playing career.

Now assistant coach to the first team, as well as second-team manager and academy director, Damian has also welcomed the County’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes’ son George to the academy too.

The D’Oliveira-Rhodes connection began in 1964 when Basil came up against Steve’s father Billy in second team matches — all-rounder D’Oliveira for Worcestershire and batsman Rhodes for Nottinghamshire.

But is was another 18 years, two seasons after Basil had hung up bat, before Damian broke into the first-team at New Road and a further three until wicketkeeper-batsman Steve left his native Yorkshire for Worcestershire.

Team-mates for 13 years as Damian’s playing career ended in 1995, Rhodes went on to play for another nine years before retiring and joining the coaching staff.

Rhodes was soon to become director of cricket at New Road with Damian his right-hand man.

With their playing careers behind them, apart the odd charity match here and there, it was time for the new generation of D’Oliveiras and Rhodes to come through.

Damian’s two eldest boys Dominic and Marcus both went through the system at Worcestershire before deciding on just playing the game for fun.

But it’s Brett’s turn and by sheer fate he is joined by Rhodes’ 16-year-old son George.

However, this isn’t a case of nepotism, they are there on merit.

“If they weren’t talented they wouldn’t be here,” Damian said. “Brett is very keen on cricket and he sometimes feels that he has to work even harder than the other players.

“George has been progressing nicely and represented the Mid-lands Under 15s last summer.”

With the new generation coming through at Worcestershire, the D’Oliveira-Rhodes legacy lives on.

“It certainly has been a long time,” Damian said. “It would be nice to see the D’Oliveira and Rhodes link go on for a good few years to come.

“When I started here, whenever my father went into one net I would go into another.

“It is different for Brett though as I also double-up as the spin-bowling coach.

“But it is a little strange coaching your own sons but you just have to make sure that the relationship stays as coach and player when you’re training.”

Rhodes says that George has had to work harder to earn his place in the academy.

“He is in the difficult position of being the director of cricket’s son,” Rhodes said. “But that isn’t a bad thing.

“He takes his training very seriously and works very hard at his game. He had a good season for Barnards Green last summer in the Worcestershire League Division One batting at number three and that was good exposure for him being 15 and mixing it with the adults.”

Whether Brett and George follow in their illustrious families footsteps is down to them, but you get the feeling that the D’Oliveira-Rhodes Worcestershire connection is going to last for a good few more years yet.